Nino Migliori (Bologna, 29 september 1926 – ) photographer explored different forms of expression. Bringing together his cycles, itâ€™s possibile to find thirteen: Realismi/ Sperimentazione/ Muri e Manifesti Strappati/ Ritratti/ Polaroid/ Installazioni/ Esplorazioni-Materia/ Esplorazioni-CorporeitĂ / Esplorazioni Segno-Scrittura/ Tempo-Materia/ Dispositivi/ Imago Mentis/ Lumen. Skilled artist and interpreter of art history, Nino Migliori has been able to grasp global trends to personalize within a personal research, always led by other contents. Without going into further discussion, I leave the reading of the interview here below.
Interview dated 24/7/2019 Â© Art Musa Â© Alain ChivilĂ˛
Is photography like the word? Depending on the use, it can hurt. But, can it save, can it rejoice, can it excite?
Certainly. I believe that photography, although it is a visual language, is very close to literature because it is narration. It can be a synthetic story expressed with a single image or unfold in a more or less complex sequence until you get to the novel, in any case it arouses emotions, it ignites moods.
In the photo you can freeze time. Is it just a human deception?
This is a question of the hundred guns. The concept of time is human, it is the so-called fourth dimension. The fact that photography is two-dimensional, also eliminating depth, is a further indication that it is an interpretation of reality, an its transposition. It can be said that it blocks time because it represents and transfers that hundredth, that thousandth of a second “into eternity” of a shot, but its reading is completely individual, each user decodes it according to his culture and his feelings consequently can say that it is deceptive. Here I refer to the thesis that photography is “an authentic lie” as Michele Smargiassi writes in one of his famous essays and that I already theorized in 1978 with the work “Segnificazione”.
Today, can black and white still be forever?
When I started photographing black and white, it was de rigueur also because each of us, in order to participate in the competitions that were organized by Fiaf, personally printed their own photographs. Skill in the press was a point of pride, particularly when it came to making high tones like Cavalli or low tones like Monti. Later I started using color and the two types of representation have always accompanied me. I do not have a preference, nor a preconceived idea, it all depends on the work and the suggestions that guide me, for example two recent investigations on the landscape, Tataouine region of southern Tunisia and Pieve di Cento, a town in the lower Bologna area, the first in black and white and the second in color.
Is Lumen to photography in an ancient flavor vision? How could you see before the oil lamps and electricity?
During 2006 Ivo Iori, dean of the Faculty of Architecture of the Parmaâ€™s University, who directed a valuable editorial series for the faculty, asked me for an unpublished work to be published. I thought of creating an ad hoc one, the professor proposed me to photograph the Baptistery of Parma, a jewel of medieval architecture. I am not an architectural photographer and so I thought I would represent him in a new, indeed ancient light. I imagined how at the beginning of the thirteenth century people could see it after sunset, at night when the light sources were made up of candles and torches that brought out the details from the surrounding darkness and the shadows redesigned them creating unexpected shapes and strong suggestions. Thus was born the Lumen project which was subsequently enriched with other important subjects such as the Lamentation of NiccolĂ˛ dellâ€™Arca, Ilaria del Carretto by Jacopo della Quercia, The Veiled Christ of Sanmartino.
Is a wall a witness without words? Which essence?
Indeed, the walls speak, tell. I have photographed them for almost thirty years following three strands of narration. There are those who show the passage of time, they are the crumbling ones, broken up by the rains, which show the injuries caused by neglect; there are those who are the support of the writings, almost a public diary, which express emotions, belonging, feelings, joy and pain, political ideas of the people who felt the need to express themselves publicly leaving their trace and testimony; finally there are those who support torn posters linked also to the gesture of tearing, of the laceration made by the passerby. As you say, they are witnesses full of personal and historical implications.Â
In the next decades perhaps the film will disappear, giving space to digital. With the new generations inclined to technological evolution, will photography also change?
A premise starting right from the word photography, writing by or with light: as long as light is the necessary element to fix an image, whether on film or numerical or who knows what other support, we can talk about photography. Photography was officially born in 1839, just 180 years ago, when the daguerreotype was presented at the Academy of Sciences in Paris. During these years, before the recent advent of digital technology, there have been many technological evolutions, but this has not stopped calling it photography even though it has changed a lot: for example we call war reportage and Fenton’s photographs in Crimea which documented the battlefields after the fights and those of contemporary photojournalists who instead act during the side-by-side fights of the fighters. The use has also changed, it has become a language that replaces the word, in fact today in the world 3 billion shots are taken every day because we all have a camera in our pocket thanks to cell phones that are not only able to photograph in high definition , but being connected, they can send photos anywhere in real time. Think that change since when to make one it took minutes to make one and days to divulge it.
Are the waiting time and the moment to be captured a quid that can make a difference in photography?
Depend on the situation. For a time in the fifties the reference point for us young photographers was Henri Cartier-Bresson and his poetics of the fleeting moment and if you refer to one of my works of those years, the diver, this shot certainly fits fully into that feel. But often the difference is linked to the project, to the story that we thought of creating and that materializes when we meet ourselves without waiting for the magical moment.
How to avoid falling into shots from the approach already explored by others?
The important thing is to update, know, get informed. Sometimes it can happen because certain works are influenced by the spirit of the time, or at first glance, they may formally look like copies, but the substance is different. It is culture that makes the difference.
Photographers love to portray people with lived faces, the elderly, for greater presence. Often the best photographic portrait also arises from the spontaneity that can be established between the photographer and the subject. What better solution?
In general I believe that even in the case of the portrait there is no predetermined rule, in some cases a positive chemistry is implemented so there is no need to speak, to give indications because everything proceeds and develops smoothly, other times it is necessary to “direct”. I also happened to shoot empty until people got used to the presence of the camera which produced a casual and natural attitude.
A project still to be made for Nino Migliori?
There are several works on site, because while I am building one, another one comes to mind and so I suspend the first to verify the feasibility of the second, then I encounter a situation that pushes me to photograph it and in the meantime I am asked to participate in a project and so I always find myself moving on several levels, passing from one to the other. In short, there are always many open projects, I would need a few decades to realize them all.
Interview dated 24/7/2019 by Â© Art Musa Â© Alain ChivilĂ˛